Match Report: Salford City 1 Walsall 2 Match Report: Salford City 1 Walsall 2
Match Report: Salford City 1 Walsall 2

Match Report: Salford City 1 Walsall 2

Here is our Match Report from Saturday afternoon's Sky Bet League Two clash between Salford City and Walsall.
Arriving at the match on the back of their New Year's Day victory over Leyton Orient, the Saddlers were looking to continue their recent upturn in form and edge closer to the top half of the table.

Rory Holden got the match underway, but his side were soon on defensive duties, with Salford City racing towards Liam Roberts in the Walsall goal just a minute in. The Saddlers were alert to the danger and turned the ball behind, gifting the home side the first corner of the game, which lead to another chance being headed away from goal by Dan Scarr.

The home side continued to press, winning a free-kick in the fifth minute, which Richie Towell played in towards Jake Jervis at the back post, but Roberts remained alert and gathered ahead of the winger.

With seven minutes played, Salford created the first real chance of the afternoon, with Craig Conway curling a right-footed effort inches over the crossbar from distance.

Salford continued to look the brighter as the match continued, winning a free-kick in the tenth minute, which was swung into the box and eventually fell to Jervis whose shot on goal sailed over the crossbar from close range.

The Saddlers were finally able to work the ball up to the other end moments later, where they won a free-kick in a dangerous position. Alfie Bates fired the set-piece goal-wards, but was unable to beat the wall with his effort.

As we reached the quarter hour mark, the Saddlers were forced into another early change, as Callum Cockerill-Mollett went down requiring treatment before it was determined he would be unable to continue. Mat Sadler took his place as play resumed.

Walsall continued to show improvement following the change, with Holden playing Josh Gordon in in the eighteenth minute, but the strikers low cross, aimed at strike-partner, Caolan Lavery, was easily gathered by Salford shot-stopper, Chris Neal.

Moments later, back at the other end, Salford drew a fine save from Roberts, as Luke Armstrong flicked the ball goal-wards.

City continued to see much of the ball as the game continued, but twenty-seven minutes in, against the run of play, Walsall opened the scoring. Lavery scoring his eighth goal of the season, after some good work from Wesley McDonald left the striker with little to do but poke the ball past Neal.

Salford looked to respond quickly to falling a goal behind, but Walsall captain, James Clarke was on hand to cut out a thirty-second minute Oscar Threlkeld cross.

The home side continued to press as they looked to get back onto level terms, but Roberts remained alert to the danger, as Brandon Thomas-Asante fired goal-wards from thirty yards in the thirty-fifth minute. The resulting corner coming to nothing.

Walsall won their first corner of the game in the fortieth minute, but the Salford defences were eventually able to clear the in-swinger from Bates.

A foul on Lavery, in the forty-third minute, saw the Saddlers awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position, but Gordon's shot was blocked from close range, before Salford scrappily cleared.

Three additional minutes were added to end the first-half, but despite lots of Walsall pressure, neither side was able to create a further chance of note and the referee brought a halt to the contest with the Saddlers taking a one-goal lead into the break.

0 - 1

Salford opted to make a change following the break, with Jake Jervis making way for Ashley Hunter who joined the Manchester side on loan earlier this week, before the home side got the action back underway.

The Saddlers began the second-half much as they finished the first, piling the pressure on, with Lavery going close with a header just a minute into the half, before Gordon fired an effort into the waiting arms of Neal, one minute later.

Four minutes into the half, the home side thought they had equalised, as Thomas-Asante fired home, but Armstrong was adjudged to have been offside in the build-up and the goal would not stand.

The hosts won a corner five minutes into the half, which the Saddlers cleared, before launching a counter-attack, which was also cleared.

Walsall continued to press, and doubled their advantage in the fifty-first minute, after playing a quick free-kick into the box, where Gordon was able to turn home a rebound after Neal turned the initial effort into his path.

Salford respnded to the goal, by making a second change to their line-up. Luke Armstrong making way for Adam Rooney in the fifty-fourth minute.

The hosts went close to getting a goal back, in the fifty-eighth minute, with a cross from Conway, which looked to be headed into the top corner, being clawed clear by Roberts before Thomas-Asante fired wide.

Unperturbed, Salford continued to press, with Rooney a little unlucky not to connect with a Ibou Touray cross as we reached the hour mark.

With sixty-two minutes on the clock, Salford were finally able to pull a goal back, with Thomas-Asante getting on the end of a Conway cross to head home.

There was a brief halt to proceedings in the sixty-fourth minute, whilst Dan Scarr received treatment, but the defender was soon back on his feet and able to continue.

Salford set about looking to pull themselves back onto level terms as the action resumed, but Rooney's long range, sixty-fifth minute effort was easily held by Roberts.

Roberts was again called into action two minutes later, as Conway found Towell at the back post, but the Saddlers shot-stopper was alert to the danger and saved.

Walsall were then finally able to work the ball up to the other end, but Neal was well placed to gather McDonald's effort. The Saddlers continued to press, with Holden playing Gordon in moments later, but the strikers effort on goal sailed over the bar, without troubling the man between the sticks.

The frenetic pace slowed a little as we entered the final twenty minutes of the match, but seventy-one minutes in, Salford City captain, Liam Hogan became the first player to yellow, as he picked up a booking for a foul on Liam Kinsella.

Salford soon had the ball back at the other end, after successfully dealing with the free-kick, but a powerful delivery from a corner won by Thomas-Asante, was easily dealt with by the Saddlers defences.

The visiting side continued to defend well as the match continued, and went close to extending their lead fifteen minutes from time as McDonald curled an effort narrowly wide of Neal's upright.

The hosts soon tested Roberts again though, as Joey Jones fired a powerful effort goal-wards, forcing the shot-stopper to turn the ball behind.

Before the resulting corner could be taken, with ten minutes still to play, Salford opted to make their third and final change of the afternoon. Oscar Threlkeld the man to make way, as Emmanuel Dieseruvwe entered the fray.

The ball in from the flag-kick, when eventually taken, was good, and caused a huge scramble in the box, but the Saddlers defences stood firm.

With eighty-one minutes on the clock, Ibou Touray became the second player to see the yellow card, as he was booked for a foul on Gordon.

Five minutes from time, the Saddlers opted to make their second change of the afternoon, with Wes McDonald making way for Zak Jules, as Salford won another corner.

The visiting side did well to clear the flag-kick ahead of Hogan who looked to be in, but the hosts went close again seconds later, as a Towell cross was met by the head of the recently introduced Dieseruvwe, but Roberts was again well placed to gather.

The Saddlers felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the eighty-seventh minute, as Lavery was pulled down in the box, but the referee was unmoved by their appeals and waved play on.

Six additional minutes were added to end the match, but the Saddlers defences stood firm to thwart any further efforts on goal,# for the first four of them, despite much pressure from Salford. With five of the six minutes played, Roberts was drawn into action again, making a superb save to deny Cameron Burgess, with the resulting corner coming to nothing.

That would be the final action of the game, as the Saddlers held on to their two-goals-to-one lead to take all three points back to the Black Country. A great result for Walsall, who took their chances well and defended stoically.

1 - 2
Thomas-Asante (62')

Lavery (27')
Gordon (51')
Attendance: 3,173 (1,291)
Referee: Alan Young
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